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I have a Suntours xcm (spring 80mm) on my hard tail. I drive more frequent and more pretentious. So I consider to upgrade my fork. How can I tell if I need a better one? What can a good air-suspension better than my current?

And what would be a good replacement?

edit:

conclusion

  • less weight
  • more adjustments
  • higher responsiveness
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3  
Not sure what you mean by more frequent and more pretentious - naturally, harder trails are better done with better forks (and possibly rear suspension). You may want to rent something better for your usual riding and see if it makes a significant improvement. Make sure the frame and other components are worth it before you do the upgrade - you may find that selling your current bike and then getting something with a better fork is a better proposition once you take into account the cost of the fork and labor for its installation. –  Batman Apr 8 at 15:05

2 Answers 2

Fork travel is limited by frame. You should look for something about 80mm. You could put 140mm fork, but bike geometry will be uncomfortable. XCM basically is just a spring. Same speed for "down" and "up". If there is local bike club, go to them and ask to try some bike with good fork. Feeling can't be explained :) Gravel feels like tarmac :P

XCM is pretty heavy forк ~2300 grams RockShox Solo Air is less then 1400 grams.

Check this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=odkYA9KJK1E

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XCM is an entry level fork - typically found of bikes at the low end of the price range. Its not hard to imagine you have out grown the fork and it is limiting your enjoyment and performance while riding.

The only way to tell if a better fork is needed, (or is that wanted?) is to take a bike with a better fork for a ride. The main consideration is how much money are you prepared to spend. However, if you take a bike out with a better fork, it will almost certainly be a better bike in every other way as well - so be careful of the comparison - you could esily set yourself up to be disappointed.

To make a measurable difference, you would need to install a fork that was of far better quality than the rest of the bike, and much of shocks improvement (hence the money) would be wasted by the bike.

It is rare that a fork upgrade (as opposed to a replacement of a faulty fork) makes sense - the manufacturers build a bike to a cost and the quaility/performance of components match. Forks are very expensive - probably more than the bike is worth. 80mm travel is not enough for serious trail riding - you might push out to 100mm without upsetting geometry too much, but that is still low by today standards.

Upgrading the whole bike is a much better idea. Put the money you get from selling the bike and the amount a fork would cost into a new (or even better - used) bike.

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